$4,000 later, he’s starting a family: For some, MW2’s gray skin market at Burger King is paying off

Every once in a while, the video game industry presents an opportunity for some damn good hustle. A chance to make some money through legitimate, albeit unintended, means. Moose runs in World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, RuneScape’s party hat barons who trade colorful cosmetics for Scrooge McDuck tiers of game gold, and now internationally Modern Warfare 2 Burger King skin vendor. For some around the world, Activision Blizzard’s latest marketing move has opened up an opportunity to make real money, with a selection walking away with staggering profits.

But first, a summary for the uninformed. With the launch of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, the marketing team behind the game had a great idea. Nothing goes together like an evening grinding out a new video game and fast food. So why not bring these worlds together and offer players a free in-game skin and XP boost to help them on their way?

Watch our Modern Warfare 2 campaign video here!

Food and drink are a proven vehicle for video game promotions. You’ve probably seen COD XP boosts on the side of energy drink cans or other high-sugar gamer supplements. Burger King’s newest run is the latest in a long-standing tradition. But there is a gap in the campaign. Both the US and UK have been banned from this global promotion, both countries are packed with hungry COD players. Hungry for cosmetics and a cheeky adventure belly. And probably burgers too. For those stranded from the rest of the world, a gray market of code resellers is their only refuge.

“I went [to Burger King] three times for codes,” Gabriel says via Twitter DMs. The French native is one of the many out there promoting their side hustle of selling codes to a desperate British and American MW2 player base on social media. “I stopped for two days, but today is my last trip back.” With just three trips to his local Burger King, he’s made more than $200, which he’s happy to tell me he’s headed toward a new one PCs for Warzone 2 will go.

Why should you buy this skin from a reseller? Well, it’s really easy. As you can’t get it here in the UK, France is the closest place to sell it. On the cheap side, a flight to Paris costs £68, while a trip through the Eurotunnel can be even more expensive. This does not include actual travel to the airport or tunnel, nor the cost of the meal itself. These prices pale in comparison to those in the US, too, which have to fly a greater distance. For those in isolation, buying a code online makes the most sense when you’re dying to get it, despite the initials that seem like a ridiculous price for a damn cosmetic.

In the world of Burger Town’s skin traders, Gabriel is of medium height. He promotes the codes he has available online, he – like many others – buys meals in bulk, harvesting the codes before distributing them online to interested parties. However, due to what he perceives as a declining market, he’s landed his last haul and is making out with a healthy chunk of extra cash. Gabriel offers his codes for around $20 each, which is a lot for a cosmetic and XP boost (even with the food), but still he’s managed to sell almost every code he’s released .

Lots of codes on a table for the MW2 x Burger King promotion

Resellers collect many codes at once and sell them to willing buyers.

As we’ve reported in games like Lost Ark, gray or even black markets surrounding video games often experience this tumbling race to the bottom when it comes to prices. As reported last week, early entrepreneurs have listed Burger Town codes on eBay for over $60 — and sold successfully. Over the last few days we’ve seen prices drop to $20 or less as hordes of people try to get in on the action. With a meal costing about five or six bucks, even with that levy, sellers are still making serious returns.

But Gabriel, with $200 in his pocket and a smile on his face, doesn’t represent the lofty pinnacle of frankly respectable profits that some Burger Town skin hustlers have been able to achieve. Enter Jay, an auto technician from New Zealand. After one of his US friends recommended selling the codes after his own trade, he began stealing and selling codes in bulk. The result? A total of around 225 codes were sold, raising an approximate total of around $4,250. “I have a close family member who works at BK but they don’t cater for me so I paid for individual meals. In bulk but meals in heaps”

On his first trip, Jay started small and bought about five meals, plugged in the codes, and gave the food to his co-workers. He’s since claimed he can buy the codes directly for the cost of the full meal, which saved him from carrying dozens of Death Stranding-style meals, reduced staff workloads, and stopped a heap of food waste.

While Gabriel saw a dip in interest, Jay has only seen an increase in eager buyers since launch as more American and UK players have learned of the Burger Town skin’s existence. For him, the problem is not demand, but time.

“Surprisingly, it’s increased in heaps since launch, but I don’t have time to offload about 70 more codes one at a time by the weekend, so I’m selling the rest in bulk for what I paid for,” he says. “I think I’ll sell 50 in bulk and keep the rest for friends and family.” As a bulk seller, Jay will likely feed codes into a currently expanding Burger Town market, buying the codes with the intention of reselling them for a profit , or maybe even for freebies that have popped up online.

Where is Jay going to spend all that money? In a salutary turn of events, it appears that he and his significant other are expecting a baby next January. That money, made at the skins market in Burger Town, will go to a safety net in case of financial troubles in the new year, although he has admitted he spent about 5% of total earnings on his fiancée – which we do I think everyone can agree that it’s totally fair and what any guy would hope he would do in the same situation.

Burger Town in-game skin in Modern Warfare 2

Even I bought a skin from a reseller! It’s a lot cheaper than going out and getting it legally and I had to verify the legitimacy.

But there is an elephant in the room. Aside from his own legitimate success through the Burger Town skins, does Jay think this is a good event? If it led to a gray market of resellers, was it well thought out?

“[There are] too many different promotions per region, which I think is stupid,” concludes Jay in our chat. “Because then you have people who exploit it like I do — and make a lot of money.” He went on to refer to a 2015 Carls Jr. promotion for Black Ops 3 for an exclusive calling card and camouflage for Ruin, an in-game specialist, as a previously well-conducted promotion of a similar style.

However, it’s worth noting that Carls Jr. isn’t the kind of brand that’s readily available everywhere, especially in the UK. The promotion also included a sweepstakes, which means even if you received a code, you might not get the prize you want. A guaranteed reward like the one available this time is certainly better, and while the chance for super rare prizes like copies of the game or tours of the development studio is plentiful, it would likely lead to the same issues as it does now, except with a possibility to redeem your Gray Market code for an in-game Duff reward.

Ultimately, the main problem with the Burger Town MW2 skin promotion that has allowed this market to emerge is a peculiar mix of literal real-world region locking and lack of region locking when it comes to the codes themselves. Whether the deal isn’t for reasons of money or time came to the UK and US (those kinds of deals take months of planning, you know), or whether it was intended to stimulate demand remains uncertain

For now, the likes of Jay and Gabriel, who saw an opportunity to build a respectable business and earn some extra cash for expensive hardware upgrades or to support their families, seem like they’re here to stay. Featuring the official Burger King UK Twitter account Confirming the news that there is no planned Burger Town advertisement for our sad little island while the land of liberty and unfathomable and unethical military spending is also in the same boat without burgers.

If you’re looking for more Modern Warfare 2 content, here’s a Modern Warfare 2 Season 1 release date guide, as well as our best M4 loadout! $4,000 later, he’s starting a family: For some, MW2’s gray skin market at Burger King is paying off

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